Carol Tyler's Pages & Progress

In my upcoming book, From Panels to Frames: Comics Art and Museums, I am including an interview with Carol Tyler about the very tactile, personal art installations she created based on her multi-Eisner nominated You’ll Never Know graphic novel trilogy, and Soldier’s Heart - the Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: a Daughter’s Memoir (Fantagraphics), the 2015 book that collects them all together. Her quest to make sense of life’s challenges and her family relationships (parents, husband, and daughter) is both intensely personal and universal for anyone that has ever tried to figure out a difficult relationship. 

Here I am collecting Carol's video, exhibition photos, and other information about her exhibitions. Pages and Progress (video and slides below) was presented at the  University of Cincinnati at DAAP Galleries, Meyers Gallery, February-March, 2016).

Many shows by artists known for comics have become “museumified,” with everything perfectly framed and starkly presented in the Alfred Barr/Museum of Modern Art tradition. Tyler’s installations are very different, distinctly apart from the antiseptic feeling of the white cube. Her graphic style, crammed with detail and drawn in a limited palette of warm tones, is reflected in the design of the exhibition. She invites us in to look at the flotsam of her life and art. Her down to Earth mid-western quality is reflected in a room of drawings fluttering gently on a clothesline, and a second gallery filled with objects like her father’s woodworking tools, toys, memorabilia, and other props that Tyler crafted herself as signs of her process and emotional state. 

In the photos below, you can see some of these handmade props, such as the “table of tears” (a table covered with glass fragments wet with “tears” from a tube feeder on the wall) and the “egometer” where Tyler’s own face appears and disappears like a window shade. There are also self-portraits and thorn sculptures from a later show, Cincinnati Five.

In July 2018, Tyler has created 6 elegant mini-sculptures from the thorns of her honey locust tree and other materials from her farmhouse. If you are interested in purchasing one of these pieces, please contact her directly at cmxmakr@gmail.com.

"From Panels to Frames: Comic Art in Museums"

I'm happy to announce that I will be editing a collection of essays, comics, reviews, and other materials about comic art in museums for the University Press of Mississippi. My UPM editor, Vijay Shah said "Museums, exhibitions, and exhibition catalogs have played a great part in the development of comics scholarship. By bringing this "low art" into the presence of "high art," a good deal has been learned about both. This matter has hardly been studied at all, and a good many people involved in it have been overlooked or forgotten."

Cover art illustration by Will Eisner. Originally created for the Museum of Cartoon Art.

Cover art illustration by Will Eisner. Originally created for the Museum of Cartoon Art.

So far, contributors include: Brian Walker, Dr. Thomas Inge, Benoit Crucifix, Jaqueline Berndt, Michael Dooley, Charles Hatfield, Diana Green, Trina Robbins, Karen Green Jonah Kinigstein, Denis Kitchen, Leslie Jones, Kenneth Baker, John Lent, and Mark Badger. Interviews with artists Gary Panter, Art Spiegelman, and Carol Tyler will be included. More to come.

If all goes as planned, publication is expected spring 2018. Thanks to Brian Walker, Denis Kitchen and Carl Gropper for allowing me to use this perfect Will Eisner illustration for my cover.

Margaret Harrison Book at mima (UK)

Margaret Harrison. The Last Gaze. Oil on Canvas. 2013.

On Reflection: the Art of Margaret Harrison is now being sold in support of Margaret's retrospective exhibition at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) in the UK.

The book is also available on AmazonBarnes & Noble,  and to wholesale booksellers on Ingram  (ISBN: Hardback: 9780996314503 | Softcover: 9780996314510). The book is an art historical analysis of the life and work of the British activist artist Margaret Harrison which includes an overview of trends & techniques in her work, her continuing use of the Captain America character, and in depth discussions about her prize-winning painting The Last Gaze, her family background & activism. Pages of exclusive photos! Scroll down to learn about Margaret's installation piece Common Reflections.

Dual Views - SF Labor Landmarks at SFSU

Dual Views: Labor Landmarks of San Francisco, a project featuring the landscape photography of Wendy Crittenden & Tom Griscom, was on view at the SFSU library gallery 3/19 - 8/7 2015. The exhibition catalog is still available on Blurb & iTunes. Our related feature on Places JournalThe Fight for San Francisco, was selected by CityLab as one of the best articles about urban space of the week. Several SFSU classes viewed the exhibit, and we appreciate everyone's support. We'd like to thank Catherine Powell, Director of LARC and Nancy Arms Simon, SFSU's installer, for making the show look great. 

We are actively looking for other venues to host this exhibit, please contact Kim if you know of a gallery that would be a good match.

Margaret Harrison - Common Reflections

Installation view of  Common Reflections  at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. Exhibition  We Are Them, They Are Us  up March 26 - May 15, 2015. Photo: Conrad Atkinson.

Installation view of Common Reflections at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. Exhibition We Are Them, They Are Us up March 26 - May 15, 2015. Photo: Conrad Atkinson.

Margaret Harrison’s installation Common Reflections revisits the Greenham Commons Women's Peace Camp, an activist movement which had a huge impact on her life and art, not only because it was an important cause, but also because of the creativity and performative elements of the demonstrations. In 1981, thousands of women protested against nuclear weapons (cruise missiles) outside of the RAF Greenham Common military base in Berkshire, England, a plot of common land that had been leased by the government to the United States. On December 12, 1982, the protesters hung the fence with items that represented what they most valued, covering it with family photos, diapers, toys and household items.  Reflect the Base, a December 11, 1983 demonstration in which hundreds of women surrounded the base holding mirrors to symbolically ask the personnel within the base to “reflect” on their actions, was an experience that has inspired Harrison to integrate mirrors into her work several times since then.

 In 1989 at The New Museum in New York, her installation Common Land Greenham replicated the feeling of being inside the base in the English countryside. The viewer was surrounded by large landscape paintings, text, and a fence topped with razor-wire and hung with children’s clothing, toys, and household implements. The fence was revived again at the request of the Silberkuppe Gallery, Berlin for their 2012 exhibition Preoccupy, a celebration of activist art.

Common Reflections was first shown in this configuration at the Northern Art Prize show in Leeds in 2013, paired with her other major work On Reflection (she won the prize). Taking inspiration from Reflect the Base, she surrounded the fence with large mirrors, situating the viewer within the continuity of activism.